Little Milton | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Little Milton

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Little Milton Campbell is one of the few contemporary blues artists whose careers have been built almost entirely on a loyal black following. Like Clarence Carter and a handful of others, Campbell has managed to remain true to the soulful spirit of the postwar blues pioneered by Bobby "Blue" Bland and B.B. King while embellishing his repertoire with enough contemporary sounds to attract younger listeners. At this point his music often rings with a grittier authenticity than the efforts of his mentors King and Bland; he's capable of slickly orchestrated pop blues (a cover of Johnnie Taylor's "Little Bluebird"), but he also enjoys digging deeper into his roots for sharply etched slices of life ("Annie Mae's Cafe") that celebrate black culture with an unpretentious and refreshing pride. Campbell's guitar style is closer to his Mississippi roots than King's Django Reinhardt-influenced slickness, and his recordings ("Bluebird," "Walking the Back Streets and Crying") are among the most important contemporary blues standards. A rare visit to the north side by a bona fide blues superstar. Tonight, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.

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